Photo of the Father
We all take photos, but I don’t think any of us really think about the truth behind what we’re actually doing. Hebrews 1b-3a can help us here:
God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power …
The word “imprint” used in this verse is of the same connotation as words we use like stamp, engrave, or photo. I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to call Jesus, “a photo of the Father.” Now, before all my deeply theological friends say that my analogy is too simplistic, let me say, “I agree.”
First, a photo is not “as real” as the person it captures, and yet, Jesus, our God, is as real as the Father. What this verse is saying, and what I’m saying in likening photography to the incarnation, is merely to identify why we all have such a desire to photograph things. We are all seeking to capture glimpses of beauty, moments of significance, and to cast the people and places we love into their most perfect forever state.
Jesus’ incarnation became for us a scrapbook in whom all life is written. Jesus’ existence is the only life most beautiful. He is the only person that actually lived moments most memorable, all while sustaining a being most perfectly true. His nature teaches us the essence of all our worship through the arts. Though as the Creed says, Jesus was “begotten, not made,” (in other words he is altogether different from us) we express a bit of his desires and image-bearing anytime we set out to produce—to make.
We can never duplicate Jesus—this would be idol worship. We can never make “a god,” though history shows that we have tried to do this over and over again. However, when we take photos, we can remember our perfect Savior Jesus. The perfect, most real, and tangible God-man. The imprint of the Father. We can remember and see in his life what is most beautiful and what moments are most true.
This should challenge how we take photos. In a day and age of selfies, pornography, sexting, infographics, and logos, I think we can all agree that art has become too shallow and/or profane. Remembering our Creator, as we seek him in our Craft, can help us fill our photos with imprints of what is most like him—things most beautiful, moments that are most memorable, and with memories of love most honorable to his name.
*For further reading in the Bible: Hebrews 1 Colossians 1:15 – 1:16
Accompanying this study is over 300-Hours of video footage from 150 of today’s top Christian thinkers on culture, creativity, innovation, and invention at www.makejesusculture.com and www.gardencityproject.com. We aim to help churches develop grass roots culture formation for their contexts. Go now!